'What will you do for my website's security?' Asked no startup CEO ever!Shikhil Sharma
While big organisations spend heavily on security, startups still need to understand the importance of cyber security. According to a report by Forbes, approximately 30,000 websites are hacked every day and new web vulnerabilities are being discovered on hourly basis. With scary statistics like these, web security should be a priority in any startup organisation. In the light of marketing, search engine optimisation, analytics, UI/UX, etc., security of the website often takes a back seat. Making the entire business stand on shaky grounds. Leaving a business at the mercy of hackers is something that a startup CEO should absolutely avoid.
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Website security is very important for your business
- Marketing attracts traffic, of all kinds: Even a revolutionary product requires selling. Founders understand this well and devise all types of marketing strategies from day one of their business. The right combination of offline and online marketing strategies, coupled with guerrilla marketing techniques, are used to attract more customers. The marketing campaign that lures potential customers into clicking your website's link attracts hackers also. It is important to understand that the strategies used to attract customers can attract hackers too!
- Less conversion, security can be a reason: Websites are becoming more intelligent, so are the hackers. To ease out the process of website hacking, hackers often make bots that scan a website against a newly found vulnerability. Many such scanner bots visit your website on a daily basis. These scanners, on an average, send 200–1,000 requests to your websites in search of a vulnerability. What might look like legitimate traffic on your analytics page, could be bots trying to hack into your website. While you might think that your conversions are less because of the page layout or product quality, the reason might be completely different!
It is high time that startup founders start questioning their developers about security even while making the mean viable product (MVP). Most of the time, the approach is to get a MVP out to validate the market and get reviews from customers. Once the MVP is validated, the final product is built on top of it. Security is not the focus while making the MVP and second iteration of the product is done on top of it, making the product quite hollow from a security perspective.
Questions a CEO should ask his developers
- Is security being baked into the website's infrastructure?: Questions like these make a developer extra security conscious while developing the website.
- Will my website have a web application firewall (WAF)?: Apart from baking security into the website, it is very important to have an additional layer of security that protects the websites from threats in real-time. A good firewall is one which apart from providing sock-solid security, helps the management in taking data-driven decisions and can be used be used by non-IT staff too.
- What if we get hacked?: There should always be a plan of action in-place if your website ever gets hacked. An incident response plan helps in reducing the down-time and recovering faster from a website hacking incident. Regular backups of website need to be made too.
Security is often seen as something which a "tech-department" or an "IT-team" should be looking after. But the magnitude of loss posed by a security-breach makes security to be a topic of discussion by the top management. In the past, organisations have lost millions because of a security breach. Also there have been incidents where security breach was the sole cause for the shutting down of a company. Its time to act fast and act now, hackers are coming!
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)